The first edition debate in collaboration with New Media Conference, featured 4 brilliant 11th graders representing CIS and DOWEN colleges Lekki, with the former proposing that Social Media does Enrich Education, and the latter opposing. The international debate format was employed, allowing for an interruption of the opposing speaker with remarks countering the stated arguments. The format also allowed floor speeches, providing the audience an opportunity to air their views and opinions on the subject matter without directly referring to the statements of the speakers.
It was an electric atmosphere as the audience were treated to an informative debate, by well-articulated speakers with a composure that can rival Barrack Obama. In attendance were the co-founders of the Octagon Mr Akinlabi Akinbulumo and Mrs Adaora Mbelu-Dania. Also present was Miss Tosin Ajibade, CEO of OSG communications. The team of Judges consisted of Mr Olaolu Ogundeji, Miss Chinwe, Mr IniOluwa Odekunle and Mr Jay Elone.
The debate kicked off with the moderator reading off the rules of the debate and the grading system.
The first speaker for CIS Jade Mkparu proposed that social media can enrich education, backing her statement by stating some educational benefits tied to social media, Most people are not aware that Wikipedia is indeed a form of social media as its content are a collective contribution of various peoples research and knowledge about various topical issues. Wikipedia has directly impacted millions of students worldwide. She further argued that there is a plethora of information available to students on YouTube including instructional videos, and documentaries. These videos are highly effective engagement tools that can make learning simple, practical and fun simultaneously. She rounded off commenting that, Social media is arguably an essential in these climes and proper social media education will ensure that its positive potential value will be derived from its use in classrooms.
Tekena Mac-yoroki the first speaker for Dowen College, in her opening remarks responded with scenarios, positing that social media ads can be a form of distraction for students who use the platform to learn, as the average attention span grows shorter and shorter. According to her, research has shown that Social media encourages poor writing as most students forget correct word spellings, due to prolonged use of social media slangs and shorthand when chatting and commenting, this is mostly evident after the long summer holidays. Add to the list of woes cyber-bullying and various forms of online harassment, stalking, invasion of privacy and phishing as students regularly post updates about their activities and the scales are tipped in a downward movement.
In her final point, she propounded that Social media can take away the feeling of being in a classroom, as students can get sucked into the false cocoon of online notoriety, trends and virtual friends, thus leading to a breakdown in social relations, evident in loss of confidence, awkwardness and social impropriety. All this ensures that students have low tendency to ask questions in the classroom and instead rely on social media platforms to provide answers, these answers are most often the personal opinion of the writer/poster without any credible or thorough research to undergird.
Next came the supporting speaker for CIS in the person of Kofo Jolaoso, she raised two points in favor of Social media use in classrooms including the possibility of tailoring lessons to various segments of students which is made possible by the different content sharing techniques of Social media and the gap bridged between students and their awareness about their environment through varied use of photos and contents. She ended strongly emphasizing that social media is the beginning of a new era for emerging students.
Olamide Odubena the supporting speaker for Dowen college followed immediately reiterating that social media is a major source of distraction and can be termed a colossal waste of time. She also spoke on the addictive nature of social media and its tendency to detach students from the real world where valid lessons are dished out every passing minute.
The floor was thrown open to the audience and the students held varying stances on the debated topic. At this juncture the moderator Mr Damola Adepetun congratulated both teams for an excellent show of professionalism, preparedness and quality presentation.
As a round up to the event, a short presentation on social media was delivered by one of the judges. Finally the winner and runner-up were announced, with prize presentations to the participants. CIS clinched the top prize followed closely by their colleagues in Dowen college.
It was an amazing time, an eye opener into the calibre of great minds the young generation possess, the majority stating how much they anticipate another showdown in the nearest future.
The Octagon remains committed to creating this kind of experience in order to raise the general level of thinking amongst people, until solutions and changes are precipitated.